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Classics of Erotic Literature for a Buck from Olympia Press

 

If you read erotica, or write it, you're probably familiar with Olympia Press. If not, here's your chance to curl up with some of the classics of erotic literature and fiction for less than you'd tip your barista. Most infamous, perhaps, for printing the first run of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, Olympia was equally devoted to the risky and the risqué. Other notable works included William S. Burroughs classic Naked LunchJ. P. Donleavy's The Ginger Man; Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnameable by Samuel Beckett; and The Wisdom of the Lash (The Story of O) by Pauline Réage. Gary Kamiya writes an entertaining and informative short history of Girodias' publishing house here.

In the dark days before blogs and Amazon existed to satisfy literate kinks, erotica was often a favored gig of writers desperate for a buck to feed their muse. Churning out smut novels to scrape up dough for some bread and wine was as popular among New York beat writers as it was in Henry Miller's Paris. The beauty of this situation was that rather than coding all day in a cubicle, some of the best writers of the twentieth century lent their talents to the erotic in order to fuel their more experimental ventures. Maurice Girodias fought to publish both, a battle against censorship that played a large role in winning the freedoms that we've enjoyed in more recent years.

In some ways, these semi-licit texts had a lot more power than today's more readily accessible blog-fodder—The plain, ugly covers, warnings stating that some works could not be exported to the US or UK, and hell, just the difficulty of finding, ordering or smuggling the works into the home—all this contributes to a sense of the forbidden that provided an additional frisson. It was a different, more radical time and although there is good reason to worry that we may be returning to the prudery and censorship of that era, I think we may have lost forever the spark of lust, wonder, and reverent irreverence that fueled that first revolution. The fight was more innocent then, and in many of these writings you can feel it in the joi de vivre seeping through the prose.
 

The new Olympia Press website invites you to try a free title out to see what works for you. You can log in to access your books online at any time. Books are offered in all the formats listed below and each purchase includes a free HTML backup, just in case. Olympia also offers nicely-priced reprints for those so inclined.

  • Mobipocket format for Palms
  • MS-Reader for PocketPCs
  • Isilo Ebook
  • Rocket Ebook .
  • .pdf versions.

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